Urooj Khan: ‘Police Have Done Nothing,’ Says Sister Of Chicago Man Who Died Of Cyanide Poisoning 24 Hours After Winning $1 Million Lottery

Urooj Hkan Lottery

Meraj Khan, the sister of a Urooj Khan, a 46-year-old Chicago businessman who mysteriously died one day after his $1 million lottery check was issued in 2012, has complained that four years later, police have done little or nothing to solve the case.

As the Washington Post reports, Meraj Khan was reacting to a statement made by police that the investigation into Urooj Khan’s death was still active and ongoing. Meraj Khan refuted the claims, saying that the detective in charge of the case had told the family over the years that he was too busy attending to other things rather than the homicide case.

“Every time we call him, he hands it over to somebody else who says, ‘Oh, we are looking into it.’ They have done nothing, really.”

Urooj Khan migrated from India to the U.S. in 1989 and managed a string of dry-cleaning businesses with his wife, Shabana, in Chicago’s Northwest Side. Friends and family described him as a generous man who donated money to orphanages in India. In June 2012, Khan purchased a scratch-off lottery ticket at a 7-Eleven near his home. Surprisingly, he won $1 million and was planning on using the lump sum of $600,000 after taxes to expand his business, pay off his mortgage, and make a donation to a children’s hospital in Chicago.

But after eating traditional Indian Kofta curry for dinner July 20, 2012, and retiring to bed, he died. It was one day after the lottery check had been issued, but he had not received it.

The medical examiner’s office, after seeing no visible signs of trauma, had ruled that he died of natural causes. But Khan’s brother, who was suspicious over the timing of his death, had pathologists test a blood sample from his late brother. The test came back positive for cyanide. The medical examiner, Stephen Cina, reclassified the death as a homicide, adding that it was a lethal dose that had killed him and that it could not have been ingested by accident.

Cina confirmed that when the businessman’s body was exhumed for further tests, the cyanide could not be traced because the body had decomposed. He also mentioned that it was impossible to determine how the deadly cyanide got into his body but emphasized that Khan had died from poisoning, saying that out of 340 cyanide tests carried out in the last 24 months at his office, there had been no false positives. Cina also confirmed that the police had not contacted him about the case since 2013.

Over the last four years, police have talked to three family members who were with Khan at the dinner table on the night that he died: Khan’s wife, his father-in-law, and his daughter. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said information from Khan’s daughter revealed that her step-mother had prepared the meal, but no one had been charged. The police spokesman said Saturday that the case had not been closed and was still very much active. Meraj Khan, who was recently granted guardianship of her brother’s daughter, blames his death on his brother’s wife, Shabana, and father-in-law, calling it an “open-and-shut case.”

A probate settlement was reached to divide Khan’s estate between the wife and the daughter. They were both barred from filing a wrongful death lawsuit until police came up with evidence.

A former chemist described cyanide as a poison that could kill in less than 10 minutes. According to her, cyanide attacks a certain enzyme that helps us to breathe and suffocates the cells one by one. Symptoms include extreme shortness of breath, seizures, and cardiac arrest.

Do you think the Chicago police are dragging their feet on Urooj Khan’s death investigation?

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